The OACPS Ministers of Mining adopt an OACPS Position Paper and Action plan on Critical Raw Materials

From left to right: H.E. Daniel Evina Abe’e, Dean of OACPS Ambassadors; Pr Calistius GENTRY FUH, Minister (a.i.) of Mines, Industry and Technological Development; H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto CHIKOTI, OACPS Secretary-General.

After two days of high-level exchanges with distinguished guests, knowledge sharing and collaboration among delegates regarding the OACPS-EU Strategic Partnership on critical raw materials (CRM), and exchange with Financing Institutions, the OACPS mining Ministers adopted on 24 May in Yaoundé, a position paper and an action plan to implement the OACPS strategy on CRM. The strategy is grouped around four main pillars, namely: (a) institutional framework; (b) geo-strategic engagement; (c) trade and industrialization policies; and (d) sustainability governance.

The OACPS position paper on CRM constitutes a multi-disciplinary approach aimed at ensuring that the secular global demand for critical raw materials does not perpetuate the long reign of commodity dependence that define ACP countries’ secular trade performance. It also recognizes that critical raw materials are value chains with linkages to various other sectors in the economy, e.g. renewable energy, health, education, skills training, institutional support for mining communities, electrification, and feedstocks for agriculture.

Although there is a recognition that the promulgation of the OACPS position was triggered by deliberations on the EU Critical Raw Materials Act, it is also crucial to forge deeper collaboration with non-OACPS producers of critical raw materials to facilitate knowledge sharing, enhance market intelligence and develop common positions, thereby bolstering OACPS bargaining power with key trading partners.

OACPS countries remain committed to, and supportive of, the global thrust towards the green and digital transitions. However, we believe that our wealth of critical raw materials should in the first instance be used to promote the green and digital transition in our countries. Advancing this key OACPS objective constitutes an essential element in our members’ engagement with trade and development partners” said H.E. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, OACPS Secretary-General.

The Secretary General recalled that the OACPS approach is consistent with the thrust of the Samoa Agreement that calls on the parties to promote the industrialization, beneficiation, value addition and sustainable management of natural resources. Another main element of this new OACPS-EU agreement is to use partnership dialogue platforms to pursue effective consultations on all policies and developments impinging on the treatment of critical raw materials in OACPS countries. The OACPS approach will adopt the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity, taking into account regional and national strategies for the development of critical raw materials, including the Africa Green Mineral Strategy.

During the closing ceremony, Pr. Calistus GENTRY FUH, Minister (a.i.) of Mines, Industry and Technological Development of Cameroon declared:We take note of all the recommendations that were made during our discussions which focused on the challenges to be taken up in terms of energy, cooperation, legislation and infrastructure with a view to implement a sound development strategy for critical minerals. The challenges to be met at the financial level and the crucial question relating to the industrialization of this key sector are equally important and were also discussed during this meeting of mining ministers.”

In implementing the OACPS Position Paper and OACPS Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials, the first step will be to present the Decision of this meeting to the 117th Session of the OACPS Council of Ministers, to be held in end of June 2024.